January 1989. I boarded a Greyhound Coach on my own for a 12-hour trip up the coast to Lismore, a country town in Australia, to spend a week of my summer break with my friend, Sarah. I was 14.
Sarah, the daughter of my tennis coach, would come down to visit her dad during school holidays. We met at tennis camp and instantly because very close friends.
I spent the days with Sarah at the beach and hanging out at her place with her friends. Her friends smoked, drank and were already having sex. At 14, I was confident, but innocent. I remember trying to be cool, while not taking part in any of it. I tried to hold my own while feeling terribly anxious inside — most worried that my parents would not have realised that this was the holiday they had sent me on my own to!
During the week, one of the mothers drove me, Sarah, her son and his friend, Dreamworld water park for a full day of rides, water slides and great fun. As the sun was setting, we left the park and settled into the car for the two-hour drive back to Lismore.
I sat in the front seat. Sarah and the boys were in the back. A cassette went in. It was the Joshua Tree.
My memory of that car trip back was singing along to the first few songs, before my friends in the back started to nod off to sleep. I remember looking behind to see them relaxed against each other, heads on shoulders. As I stared out the window at the highway — missing home, yet feeling a little more grown up — Red Hill Mining Town came on. To this day, it remains my favourite song by U2.
Joshua Tree became the soundtrack of my 14th year and my coming of age.
Memories of my 14-year old self were stirred up again at the U2 Joshua Tree concert in Singapore over the weekend. 30 years on, I was moved to tears, as I stood in the front row and heard Red Hill Mining Town again.
This is My Story.
What about Her Story?
30 years on, I am a mother to a 14-year old daughter. What pivotal moments will form her identity, and propel her forward into the world as a strong, courageous and confident woman?
U2’s very moving feminist montage and message of unity and collaboration lit me up. It made me more certain than ever that as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur, I need to be a great role model to my children. It was yet another sign, reinforcing that I need to forge forward with the vision I have for myself, my business and the world.
My daughter is growing up in a world that is far more complicated than the one I grew up in. The challenges her generation are facing seem insurmountable. She is very anxious about the planet’s sustainability and humanity’s existence. I am desperately concerned.
As parents, and as leaders in business and society, we need to come together and show our childern that there is a new way to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. I strongly believe that only collaborative action will save us.
What will your story be?